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The Western Literary Canon in Context | [The Great Courses]

The Western Literary Canon in Context

What exactly is the Western literary canon? Why does it contain certain works and not others? And what do particular works in the Western canon tell us about the development of literature and civilization? Explore these and other thought-provoking lectures with a thorough investigation of more than 30 key works of the Western canon and the critical roles they played-and continue to play-in the development of Western literature.
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Publisher's Summary

What exactly is the Western literary canon? Why does it contain certain works and not others? And what do particular works in the Western canon tell us about the development of literature and civilization? Explore these and other thought-provoking lectures with a thorough investigation of more than 30 key works of the Western canon and the critical roles they played - and continue to play - in the development of Western literature. Over the course of 36 lectures, you'll discover the exciting stories behind these classic works and their often surprising connections with one another.

You'll gain invaluable insights into the stories behind these masterpieces and some of the important elements involved in canon formation, including the influence of editors on the New Testament, the influence of culture on Homer's and Virgil's epics, and the influence of education on J.R.R. Tolkien.

You'll also examine the unique connections between each work and its predecessors, allowing you to participate in a riveting literary discussion and examine how history's greatest writers have "talked" with one another, from the way Virgil's Aeneid echoes the Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey to the way John Milton's Paradise Lost is a catalog of the canonic works that precede it, from Plato's "The Apology of Socrates" to William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

A panoramic look at literature, this course is your opportunity to witness a rich literary dialogue and take an amazing journey through thousands of years of literary beauty, grace, and humanity.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

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